Sunday, June 27, 2004

Procrastination Mantra

Moving, engagement, and family drama have succeeded in making me so distracted at work that I have problems completing tasks. It’s my own fault, and I need to find a way to make myself more focused. I’m considering going back on coffee. We’ll see next week if that works. What really works, of course, is having a little writing time like this to myself before starting in on more formal writing. But blogging is banned at work, and I often stare at the screen stymied, ideas blocked at the bottleneck of my mind.

As I write this, my sister Sara and I are sitting at a table together in my new apartment. She’s learning calligraphy from a book, and getting quite good at it, I think. She’s using an old pen set of mine with three nibs for the plastic pen and two automatic ink cartridges. She’s starting out with blue ink and I won’t let her start the red until she’s used up the blue. I plan on showing her how to make excellent fake blood splatters with the red ink in a few days, by blowing the red ink through a straw. I am writing this blog entry to procrastinate again instead of finishing up some reports for work. It’s Sunday, and in 12 hours I need to be at work with something resembling a full first draft of a rather complicated project. I’m stuck on it out of fear of criticism, I suppose.

We’re both inside at the table because it’s raining. It’s been raining for two weeks in Atlanta now. There’s a little muddy creek in the back parking lot of our apartment building. Other friends have written to me about flooded basements, and I feel lucky to live on high land. I should feel lucky that the rain has made this June a little cooler than most in Atlanta, since I still ride the train and walk to work every day. I am concerned about getting to work sweat-free in August.

In a few days Underdown will visit again, and bring with her Sara’s PS2, which will serve as our DVD player, sound system, and video arcade. As soon as Underdown leaves, Sara’s friend Sophie will be here to visit her for a few days, and then The Republican will come for the weekend. After that I’m off to the Bahamas for a short business trip I can’t really afford to go on. More on that soon.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Too much, too fast, all at once

A week ago Sunday

I brought The Republican warm chocolate chip cookies in bed. My room was filled with light and both our smells. We decided to get married. He touched the scars on my back softly, looking at where the moles once were, before I had them taken off. Before he left, I kissed him on the forehead, and was surprised at the salty taste. I told my room mates I was getting married, but after that focused on work.

Last Monday

Lugging my laptop to work hurt my back a little. Work was entirely too busy; I panicked a little at everything that must be done before the end of the month. My sister Sara was a day late returning from Bonnaroo, and until she shows up at lunchtime my parents were on the phone with me, panicked. After work, I picked up the keys to my new apartment; and walked around in my new space a little, delighted with myself. The new place is clean and cool and comfortable. I call The Republican to crow about my new apartment, and he asks : Has my mother called you yet? What? Says I. The Republican's mother does call. She talks to me for an hour and a half. She tells me she is so happy he and I are to be married, and offers to book our honeymoon. I let her. In December, we're going to Key West. I dislike Florida intensely, but it makes my future mom in law happy, so I just sort of roll with it.

Last Tuesday

I talk to my mother. She cries and tells me how happy she is. I give her The Republican's contact information as well as his mom's. I e-mail him and ask him if my mother has called yet, a petty but satisfying act of revenge. He continued to profess to love me anyway. Work is again hectic, and it rains so hard I have to take a cab home, and cannot begin moving that night.


I make a test registry at I attend many meetings at work. At the comic book store, they forget to drop two of my favorites in my hold box. I move just a few things into my new apartment. Everyone wants to talk to me on the phone about my engagement. I am glad we've planned not to have a wedding.


I get a distress call from my sisters. If all had gone according to plan, they would have been in Georgia on the 14th, but all is awry. I get very worried about them. I work late. I begin moving larger things into the new place. My bedroom at the old place begins to devolve into piles of dirty clothes and misplaced objects. There's no internet service at home again, because Comcast sucks. I feel adrift.


I am far to distracted at work to get much done. Everyone still wants to talk to me, and I continue to worry about my sisters until The Republican pitches in on a rental car. I leave work half an hour early, and find myself in the grocery store overspending out of nervousness. I pile food into the new apartment before leaving for Nashville. The house is a wreck, I've got biils to pay, an apartment to move, and still I fly up I24. There I abruptly push The Republican into my car to meet my parents. All this guy has ever done is be nice to me and love me, and I throw him into a house with my mom and dad, where, during conversation, my mother is sure to mention that mental illness and addiction run in the family. I make jokes. They interrogate him. We leave near midnight, with a promise to pick up the kids tomorrow. Back at The Republican's apartment we curl around each other and take a good long while to unwind after such a stressful week. He's going to add ten years to my life, just understanding that someone has to calm me down sometimes. Without him, I'd be a shaking wreck.


I take Sara to the museum. Then I ride out to meet The Republican at a small party, before turning back to pick up Abby and Sara. The ride back to Atlanta is long, and we are not surprised to find out it is nearly the longest day of the year. I take them to eat Indian food. They sleep in my bed, in the wrecked house. I feel guilty about the incredible mess.


Sara is very ill with a summer cold, and Abby is ill with the world. We all eat out and run errands until Audrey calls us up to Acworth. I drive the girls there already exhausted. They've worn me out. Colin is cute. We look at recent vacation photos before I leave Abby with my cousins, a little guilty that I can't care for her myself, but I can't. There's too much going on, all at once. Sara and I stay up too late moving, and go to sleep grumpy.


I have to return the rental car a day late. I've spent too much money. I can't find my car keys. I left my house keys in Acworth with Abby, and Audrey will have to mail them to me. My room is a disaster zone, and Sara will have to help me clean up the house. I'm sure I've abused my girlfriend privelages with The Republican. We've got to move, I've got reports for work to finish, and none of my good clothes are clean. I can't call in sick today, because there are meetings. I'm going to be late for work by typing this.

But I needed to get everything all out there.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Transit of Venus

Transit of Venus

0 days, 0 hours, 0 minutes

I had been waiting for the transit of Venus for 18 months, but when it came time to watch the star I was born under cross the face of the sun for the first time in 132 years, there was nothing to see. It was raining in Atlanta, and while friends of mine dreamed strange and complicated things hundreds of miles away from me, I slept only in fits and starts, waking at 3a.m. to listen to the rain, my cat’s demands for attention, and the sound of my own heart. There was no sunrise to watch Tuesday morning.

I resolved some issues with my work environment Monday, and that had settled my stomach a bit, along with the security check I had done on my new building, the one where I’ll be living alone for the first time. There are keypad locks on the front of the apartment complex. Lots of other single women live there, many of whom have large friendly dogs. My windows are on the second story, and there’s a modern fire escape that gives me a back exit but which would be difficult for a thief to enter. Hardening my resolve to live alone was my younger roomie’s free use of my cookie dough, and the sudden interruption of water service to the rental house, probably due to the landlord’s inattention again. I really do have a genetic predisposition to having my utilities disconnected. At least in the new place it will probably only be my fault.

Audrey and I had our once-a-month lunch Tuesday afternoon, and I was happy that Jamie came with her and Colin this time. Work was incredibly busy that day, and after a night of little sleep I needed a long lunch of solid food and coffee to keep me going. After they left, I grinned for the rest of the day, because I realized that although I was exhausted, I was happy. I was tired physically from lack of sleep, tired mentally from all the stress surrounding my work and living situations, tired emotionally from relationship and family drama.

You know what makes this all okay? That I can sit and laugh and eat with friends – Audrey and Jamie, Kati on the phone reassuring me, Underdown, sick with strep throat needing the company of my voice, Dust needing distraction from his own problems. Winn and I laughing about fandom, Tony and Aral and everyone else planning the yearly big end of summer party. It’s going to be OK. It’s going to be alright. I can do this, this horrible and beautiful thing called being in charge of my own life.

I watched the transit of Venus on the internet just before going to bed Tuesday night. Someone with a telescope in Germany had made a Quick-Time movie of the different stages of progress of the transit, and so I watched Venus move across the face of the sun from half a world away as a recording. It was beautiful, just a simple black dot on the bright round ball that gives us light and life every day. Venus tracked across the sun in front of Earth yesterday, and it will do this again in 12 years, just to show me how small an entire planet is in the face of the sun. My problems are so tiny, and the source of warmth and light is so large.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Quilts have magical protective qualities

Quilts have magical protective qualities

I told The Republican about the magical protective qualities of quilts last weekend. I had to tell him something, because as he brought up planning for the future I pulled the quilt on my bed over my head.

We sat there for a few seconds after that, me under the quilt and he, I suppose, trying to figure out how he had ended up with this crazy person beside him. Then he stuck his head under the quilt next to mine, and stared at me.

"Okay", I said, "Okay, now we can talk about planning, as long as we have quilt protection."

I know that's not the best example of rational, adult, behavior but I'm having to act a little silly to cope with the fact that The Republican can't be scared off. I've tried everything, from Family Drama to job panics to boarderline irrational demands. He just won't be deterred from his resolution to stay with me. The normal cycle of a long term relationships has previously followed these stages with me:

1) Fall hopelessly in love

2) Due to returned affections, fall even more hopelessly in love

3) One of us will begin planning the rest of their lives around the other

4) Communications breakdown

5) Someone does the leaving, which is more of a formality after the communications breakdown

To top all of that off, I haven't had a relationship survive the summer season in nearly seven years. So I'm understandably a bit nervous.

And then there's my job.

And my family problems.

And the money thing, which I've never been good at.

And I just signed for a new apartment yesterday.

Have I mentioned that my job is very stressful?

All of this adds up to me wretching in the bathroom repeatedly sometimes, twisted over in agony, guts in knots any boy scout would envy. I eat crackers. I eat pretzles. I eat tums. Herbal tea usually will calm me down. My body hates my job but would hate unemployment more. I have to be able to take care of myself. I've done a year of this. I can do one more. And having made it through two years, then I can make it through four.

Kati last week made it through the Chicago marathon, finished the race far from first but managed to make it all the way through. Although I could never run that far, I feel as if I'm in my own personal marathon right now. Currently I'm at that stage where your body wants to eat its own muscle, where the lights and whirls of protien starvation try to knock you down. This is the stage of the race where your body works against your goals. I will not be knocked down. I will finish this race even though it hurts. I will do this wrapped in quilts at night, just in case.